UDH: Universal Deep Hiding for Steganography, Watermarking, and Light Field Messaging

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Chaoning Zhang, Philipp Benz, Adil Karjauv, Geng Sun, In So Kweon


Neural networks have been shown effective in deep steganography for hiding a full image in another. However, the reason for its success remains not fully clear. Under the existing cover ($C$) dependent deep hiding (DDH) pipeline, it is challenging to analyze how the secret ($S$) image is encoded since the encoded message cannot be analyzed independently. We propose a novel universal deep hiding (UDH) meta-architecture to disentangle the encoding of $S$ from $C$. We perform extensive analysis and demonstrate that the success of deep steganography can be attributed to a frequency discrepancy between $C$ and the encoded secret image. Despite $S$ being hidden in a cover-agnostic manner, strikingly, UDH achieves a performance comparable to the existing DDH. Beyond hiding one image, we push the limits of deep steganography. Exploiting its property of being \emph{universal}, we propose universal watermarking as a timely solution to address the concern of the exponentially increasing amount of images/videos. UDH is robust to a pixel intensity shift on the container image, which makes it suitable for challenging application of light field messaging (LFM). This is the first work demonstrating the success of (DNN-based) hiding a full image for watermarking and LFM. Code: \url{https://github.com/ChaoningZhang/Universal-Deep-Hiding}